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 San Juan del Sur - Profile

Location

Bahia San Juan Del Sur is the southernmost port of entry/exit in Nicaragua and is a popular stop over for vessels entering or departing the country. It is consistently very windy here with quite a swell, however it is the best anchorage in the area.

Position 11° 15.14' N,  085° 52.61' W.

Clearance

On arrival, visit the Port Captain's office - conveniently located within the shipyards compound - to deal with clearance. Ensure you visit the correct compound (i.e. the Military side of the blue fence closest to the shore) in order to pay the correct officials and receive the proper clearance papars. See report on San Juan del Sur. All clearance, including immigration, can be carried out here.

The authorities may undertake a brief search of the boat - lockers etc. Note that authorities only speak Spanish.

National zarpes are US$15 and international US$30.

Should you need to visit the Immigration Officer's house (if the Port Captain does not call him to come to the office), it is a pleasant walk away on the hill.

If San Juan Del Sur is your first Nicaraguan port of entry, the fee to Immigration is $12.00 per person. There is also a one-off $15 duty applied to International flagged vessels upon arrival, and $15 on departure. (The duty on national Nicaraguan registered vessels is $10.00 in, $10.00 out.) The Transporte Acuatico in San Juan del Sur now charges between $20 & $50 per month for permission to navigate in Nicaraguan waters (prices vary depending on the day), however this fee is not always charged.

Last updated June 2014.

Docking

SJdS is a surfing town, and there are constantly people surfing inside the anchorage. The large crescent shaped bay is open to the prevailing SW swell which enters the bay unabated. Cruisers have reported that a five foot swell is normal in the anchorage.

However, SJdS is the best of the local anchorages. Customs however can be unpredictable and Noonsite has received reports of there being all sorts of new charges for visiting yachts here - inconsistently enforced of course.

Proposed Anchoring Fee: A new law was introduced in August 2012 stating that yachts will be charged 40 cents per foot per day for anchorage. Fortunately, no one appears to have been charged as yet and there is still a few disputes with both the locals and the ex-pats about the situation.

The wind here blows consistently from the east/shore, so shelter from wind and waves is good, even though the wind funnels into the bay. A breakwater is in the planning.

The anchorage is full of moorings which has pushed available space to anchor further North into the bay. The holding is good if you lay out enough chain. You will have to anchor in relatively deep water, as the anchorage is wide open to the South West and the swell enters the bay unabated, so it is advisable to ensure the anchor is well dug in.

Cruisers recommend not to leave a boat unattended at anchor, as the winds can be severe and there is so much debris in the harbour you cannot trust the anchor set. Do not anchor in the harbour in October as the storms are dangerous then.

Moorings are $20/night.

There is no official dinghy dock here and cruisers who have visited advise that putting your dinghy on the beach is a guarantee that it will be stolen. Arrangements to get ashore by water taxi can be made with “Che” who operates a little green tugboat shuttle service (see details below). Getting ashore however usually involves getting wet - invest in some dry bags.

There is a floating barge on the military side of the docks that will sometimes allow 1 or 2 inflatables to tie up, but it is subject to whim and not allowed if a cruise liner is in port and using it. Ask permission at the office. Beware also as the port area is locked up after 9:00pm so you might not be able to get back to the boat. The guards at the gate are friendly. Bring your passport with you if using this dock, as they will want to "log you in" to the book, and want a passport with a number to enter. When you first arrive, the guards may take a while to get to know you, and you may end up with a "new" guard. When that happens, they require you to get a "pass" from the office across the street. It comes with an official numbered receipt and the charge is $0.58/person to use the ports "landing".

Bahia Toro is about 2.5 miles north and there is space for 2 or 3 boats to anchor with some protection. Anchor near the other sailboats as there are numerous wrecks on the bottom near the fishing boat moorings.

Last updated June 2014.

Water Taxi (Che)
Tel:8566 3986
Opening hours: 0700 to 1800
Best way to contact Che is via his cell phone. You can also whistle or blow a horn to get his attention, but that's hit or miss. Che charges $2.50/each way from a boat, regardless of the number of people (2014). Before getting off agree a time for your return trip with the driver and bring a flashlight to wave and for directions.

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